What I See (14), by Karen Joy Fowler

Tue 26 Apr 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Posted by: Gavin

What I See, part 14 by Karen Joy Fowler

Some things happen fast here—the sun comes up and advances during my walk. The tide comes in or goes out. Spring arrives. This seemed to happen overnight. I got up one morning and the yard was filled with wrens, there were butterflies in the park, and the mustard is much taller than Mojito by now. It’s all in purple, white, and yellow bloom. On a warm day, I feel that I could sleep in it like Dorothy in the poppyfields. A man at the park recommended taking the greens home and cooking with them, but I’d have to know which ones no dog had pissed on first. MJ could tell me, but she can’t be bothered to.

Winter is still evident in the landscape. The park trees must be shallow-rooted because so many large ones were upended in the rains. There are vantage points in the park from which the trees all appear now to slant. Up at Natural Bridges, a fallen tree wrecked the butterfly-viewing suspension walkway. No dogs are allowed on it, so MJ and I have never been, but we can see the wreckage from the road.

Down in Lighthouse Field, some new paths have opened and some old ones closed. One trail I used to take is a pond now and other ponds also remain, attracting egrets and mallards, though most of the mud has dried out and tracks are passable again.

Yesterday was clean-up day. The Wallendas did a highwire act at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk that attracted crowds and helicopters; there were fireworks and it was all very tempting, but MJ and I went birding instead. Here is what we saw: pigeons, scoters, gulls, cormorants, blackbirds (red-winged and Brewers), a mallard duck pair, a few brown pelicans, a covey of California quail, two snowy egrets, one blue heron, one hummingbird, and many small brown sorts I can’t identify.

Today we happened on the rangers talking amiably to a man who’d slept in the park last night in a hammock. He was apparently on a long bike ride and I was taken with his high and not so-high-tech gear. I suddenly wished to take a long bike ride myself, a trip of many weeks, with hammocks and portable stoves. But then I thought that eventually I’d have to bike uphill, which I don’t care for much. And where would MJ sleep? Many bugs to be worked out of this mad nomadic plan. Including actual bugs, I’m guessing.

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Karen’s latest story is “Younger Women” available on Subterranean Online. She is also moderating the Tiptree Book Club .